Shomporko Online News Desk: Pope Francis met with both Canadian cardinals based at the Vatican, as their country continues to grapple with the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Catholic school for Indigenous youngsters on Saturday.
According to the Vatican’s daily announcement of papal appointments, the pope met separately with Cardinal Michael Czerny and Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
In his function as head of the Vatican department in charge of bishops, Ouellet talks with the Pope every Saturday.
Czerny, the Vatican’s expert on migrants and refugees, does not meet with the Pope on a weekly basis. He is a Canadian citizen of Czech descent whose family moved to Montreal when he was two years old.
While the Vatican did not reveal what was discussed in the private audiences, officials said it would be remarkable if the recent events in Canada were not mentioned.
Many Canadians have called for Pope Francis to provide a formal apology for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential schools, which operated from 1831 to 1996 and were run on behalf of the government by a variety of Christian groups.
Francis, who was elected pope in 2013, has already apologized for the Church’s role in colonialism in the Americas but he has mostly chosen to make such apologies while visiting countries. No papal visit to Canada is scheduled.
Francis apologized for the “many grave sins committed against the aboriginal people of America in the name of God” when he visited Bolivia in 2015.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that the Catholic Church must accept responsibility for its participation in the administration of many of the schools, on Friday.
Around 150,000 children were forcibly removed from their homes as a result of the residential school system. In what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission labeled “cultural genocide” in 2015, many people were subjected to abuse, rape, and hunger.
The claimed goal of the program, which was run by the government and several Christian churches, was to assimilate Indigenous children.
The discovery of the children’s bones at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, which closed in 1978, has resurrected old scars and sparked indignation in Canada about a lack of information and accountability.
The Canadian government issued an official apology for the system in 2008. Many people are “wondering why the Catholic Church in Canada is silent, is not stepping up,” Trudeau remarked on Friday.